Jolicloud Pre-Release

I’m writing this in the browser as I tend to do, though instead of running Windows or OSX, I’m using Jolicloud on my netbook.  I’ve had it loaded previously, but since I hacked the system with a new wireless card (to hackintosh) it failed to work without a wired connected, severely limiting my desire to use it.  Recently though Jolicloud released a more public beta and I loaded it up yesterday from Windows 7 and Jolicloud took care of everything …

A few system updates later (seems every OS has that post load) I’m really pleased with how Jolicloud runs.  The metaphor is a bit different than most operating systems – for starters, you need to have a live connection to do most everything.  This is great for most things, but something to really consider if you travel around as you won’t be able to do much without finding your way online.

Jolicloud runs over ubuntu from what I can tell, and while it’s linux all the geeky stuff is hidden away behind a simple interface that’s essentially just a launcher.  The “apps” you load are all single window browser apps via Mozilla Prism.  Just like running prism on a standard pc or Fluid on your mac, these apps look like apps when you use your task switcher, but also have the limits of just being in the browser.  A few examples of minor limits are no easy way to see you’ve got new mail with Gmail or ?alerts from twitter.  These are hardly deal breakers, but certainly adjustments you need to make.

I’ve encountered a few bugs (this is pre-release) which will hopefully be resolved in time for the full release.

  • The first is that Prism is not maintaining my login from Firefox to the Prsim web app.  I’m thinking this should work as it’s running from the same base, though perhaps I am misunderstanding how Prism utilizes the Firefox system.
  • A more serious issue is that it’s impossible to use Facebook Connect to login to various sites.  When I’ve clicked to use it Firefox loads from Prism and instead of redirecting back to Prism, the page load dies.  This one neds to be fixed so things are considerably more fluid

Jolicloud is really a slick system.  I’d definitely recommend checking it out for someone less geeky and using one of the linux based netbooks.  Coming from Windows, there are going to be some adjustments (no real offline apps), but for casual computing it’s a great system.

Single or Multiple Device?

I’m clearly in the two piece camp at this stage of my mobile life.  Andy talks about the Camps of One or Many today  and links to another post written by Alan Reiter on the same topic.  Today I use the N95 with the N800.  I recognize the benefits of each as well as the overlaps but choose to use one of the other to maximize my enjoyment or enhance the experience across the two.  I’ve tried all in one with the iPhone and lasted a few months … A few years ago, I was a heavy Treo user and pushed that to the limits as well.

While I really see the enhanced benefits of browsing, reading and viewing photos and video on a larger screen, I also use my devices so heavily that having a second thing ready to back me up when the battery in one fades is quite helpful.  As we see the release of MIDs with embedded WWAN like the WiMax units shown at CES or the alluded to but not yet seen WiMax N810 from Nokia things will get even more interesting.

My normal day works something like this:

  • Wake up with the N95 alarm, and then check email and Jaiku on the phone right out of bed.
  • On the one hourtrain into NYC, I fire of the N95’s music player and listen to music or podcasts (which I update over the air through the day)
  • The N800 usually then slides out of my pocket and I tether to the N95 to start diving into my feed reading.  I usually also fire up IM, Email and Mauku, a Jaiku client.
  • Depending on which device happens to be capturing my attention at the time, I check in with Jaiku, Gmail, Twitter and Google Reader.
  • During the day I swap the N800 for a work issued blackberry as the second device in my pocket but really only use it for email as it actually sucks (yes sucks) at most other things.
  • My return trip is pretty similar to the morning though I’ve watching a fair bit of video over the past few months instead of feed reading on the N800.  I do multi-task with the N95 and find myself staying connected with Jaiku and email.

I also sporadically snap photos, shoot video (which upload or stream as they are captured).  3G service (ATT) kicks in after about 20 minutes in my ride towards NYC and substantially enhances the overall online experience…

I could probably do all of this on the N95, though it is actually more convenient to have two, in the same way it’s more ideal to work on two monitors.

When I had the N810, I was actually writing posts on the go, not just consuming them and that’s purely a factor of having a built in keyboard and the availability of applications like Maemo WordPy which is offline blog editor for the tablet.

Maybe it’s that I miss my Nokia N810 (still waiting to get a release version swapped with the proto I tested) or maybe it’s the sheer lack of excitement from this year’s CES, but now I really want to get a MID.  The Intel booth showed off all kinds of cool devices and for me this really is a category of interest.  I know MIDs are not likely to become mainstream in the next year (or two) but for the power user, they really fill a beautiful spot in my mobile life.

Typically  a MID is pocketable vs. a UMPC which is something you need a bag to carry.  This distinction is something that makes the experience for a mobile power user like myself.  I can’t see going to a single device anytime soon.  I think the SDK and pending apps for the iPhone are a very interesting thing to watch here, but more interesting to me would actually be a slightly larger connected tablet from Apple